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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Bring dividends of democracy to our people — Oladunni Odu

On behalf of the Government and people of Ondo State, I am delighted to welcome you all to this epoch-making event. This Induction is very apt because it is meant to forge a clear path for all Political office holders, Permanent Secretaries and other Accounting Officers in the State. At the end, we should be clear on the way forward in the merited second term of our Principal, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN.
As we all know, the duty of government at all levels is the provision of qualitative and effective service. The Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led Administration has taken the fore on this. Like a Joseph in his time and prime, the Governor has demystified the business of governance, by fulfilling his promises to the people through practical, unprecedented initiatives across all sectors of the Sunshine State.
Having successfully brokered a deal with the people of Ondo State for a season of Redemption, the Governor set up a Transition Strategy and Implementation Committee to x-ray the work that has been done in the last four years and also to draw up measurable projections for the next four years, bearing in mind the personnel that would carry out the task – that is, Appointees and Public Servants. It is to this end that today’s Induction for top Government functionaries is taking place. To fully understand the objective of today’s event, I’ll take us on a brief trajectory.
In February 2017 when Mr. Governor took up the reins of Administration in Ondo State, the morale of its citizens was at a low ebb due to huge disconnect between government and the people coupled with over 7 months of unpaid salaries, as well as several ripple effects of underdevelopment. This prompted an immediate intervention that led to the crafting of the “Blueprint to Progress” document which has since birthed unprecedented developmental projects throughout the State. To ensure that these developments were precise and impactful, the JMPPR agenda was crafted. The agenda focused on:
J – Job creation through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Industrialization
M – Massive Infrastructural Development and Maintenance
P – Provision of Functional Education and Technological Growth
P – Provision of Accessible and Qualitative Healthcare and Social Service Delivery
R – Rural Development and Community Extension Services
Four years down the line, the Administration cleared six out of seven months backlog of moneys owed to its hardworking workforce, without jettisoning its promise to change the trajectory in job creation, infrastructure, investments, internally generated revenue, and so on. You would agree that the dividends of democracy couldn’t be better defined notwithstanding the ravaging Covid-19 Pandemic which affected economies worldwide. No wonder, the voices of the masses spoke loudly again at the polls in October, 2020 to give Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu a clear second term mandate.
In his second term inauguration speech, Mr. Governor reeled out his areas of focus for the State in the new term. These areas are an improvement on the JMPPR Agenda that delivered milestone development in all local governments areas of the State, in the first term of his administration. The new areas of focus were crafted in view of contemporary needs and their prospects for securing a great future for Ondo State. The agenda has been captured under the acronym ‘REDEEMED’ and is targeted at addressing:
Rural and Agricultural Development
Educational Advancement and Human Capital Development
Development through Massive Infrastructure
Efficient Service Delivery, Development and Policy
Effective Healthcare and Social Welfare
Maintenance of Law and Order
Energy, Mining and Sustainable Industries
Digital Revolution and Entrepreneurship
It is therefore of utmost importance for persons like you and me who have been saddled with leadership roles to understand in its entirety, this 8-point agenda, so as to help Mr. Governor deliver on his second term mandate. Our roles as leaders in this administration, either politically or administratively, is geared toward the same goal, which is, delivering the dividends of Democracy to the people. Hence, the era of working in silos or segregating our objectives based on job descriptions must end. Although, Mr. Governor has, in many fora, expressed his abhorrence for the politicization of the Civil Service due to its peculiarity; however, the objective of effective service delivery requires synergy and this can only be achieved, when the political office holders and public servants work together. After all, government is usually addressed as an entity. Hence, it must be seen to function as a unit. That is the idea behind the ONE ADMINISTRATION mantra.
As expected, the task ahead of us would be performance-driven and would be measured and evaluated periodically for effectiveness. That is why the 8-point agenda has been aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have their specific indicators for measurements and will give our performance as a State, a global rating.
Therefore, we must, as a matter of urgency, channel the commitments of our respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) towards the actualisation of these objectives. Either at 100 days (short term), the 0-2 years (medium term) or even beyond (long term goals), these initiatives, projects and programmes that each MDA uploaded to the Transition Committee platform, are the fulcrum for this Redemption Agenda.
I will not fail to touch on the challenges before us, especially in these days of scarce resources and high rate of unemployment leading to crimes. All hands must be on deck to solve the problems facing our society in our own interest and that of our people generally. Though we had remarkable increase in the IGR of the State in the first term, more than ever before, we need to triple that record by blocking loopholes and ensuring that we judiciously utilize our hard-earned resources. I am not only referring to funds released to MDAs from Federal Allocation or IGR, but also all manner of receipts including grants, loans and external assistance. All of these must be properly documented and accounted for.
I must at this juncture, appreciate Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN for his forthrightness and his resolve to make sure things work, even in the face of economic downturn and the pandemic. The Sun in Ondo State has continued to shine, just because he leads by example and like he is popularly known for, “Talk and Do” Governor, I join others in appreciating your magnanimity in recruiting over 1200 Teachers into our Primary Schools and 800 Health workers recently in Ondo State. Thank you sir.
I also appreciate the presence of all the inductees – Political Appointees, Permanent Secretaries and other Accounting Officers for your diligence in your respective positions.
To our guests, resource persons and well-wishers who have come to be part of this poignant session, I say thank you and hope you will enjoy your stay with us.
Lastly, I would like to appreciate the Chairman and Members of the Transition Strategy and Implementation Committee for making this Induction a critical part of the On-boarding process of this Administration. You have just made our work easier, going forward.
Thank you, God bless you, and God Bless Ondo State of Nigeria.

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